Interview :: Roger Mainwood :: 05/10/03

"Autobahn" est le premier film d'animation créé par Roger Mainwood (né en 1953), pour les studios "Halas & Batchelor" après ses études au "Royal College of Art Film and TV" de Londres. Ce film expérimental proche du design et de l'imagerie "Psychedelic Pop" de la fin des 70's, nous présente un personnage solitaire, à la silhouette futuriste, protégé par de grandes lunettes miroir. Il voyage, court, vole, virevolte, dans l'infini, au milieu d'une myriade de créatures étranges. Ces monstres symbolisent le trafic routier, délibérément dépeint comme une menace. Le héros essaie en vain de rentrer en contact avec des humains, clones de lui-même... A la fin du film, il réalise qu'il est prisonnier, aliéné dans un cycle journalier répétitif, face à sa propre solitude et que tout n'est qu'un éternel recommencement !
Ce film est une "interprétation visuelle" très personnelle, utilisant Autobahn de Kraftwerk en guise de fond musical ! Roger Mainwood n'est en effet jamais rentrer en contact avec Kraftwerk. Seul John Halas fut amené à joindre la maison de disques de Kraftwerk, pour des questions de droit. "Autobahn" fut également le premier film à bénéficier de la technologie aujourd'hui défunte du Laser Disque.

• Mr Roger Mainwood, i saw your film "Autobahn" from the 70's. But some sources say that it's a movie from 1974 and others from 1979. How many version is there of this film ?

Thanks for getting in touch, and for your interest in the little film I was involved with back in 1979 (not 1974). "Autobahn" was actually the first animated film I did once I had left the Royal College of Art Film and TV school in London. I am rather embarrassed by it now of course, but I suppose if we can look at it as an historical curiosity then it may still have some value ! It certainly gave me an opportunity to learn a lot of things about animation.

• What was your intention in this story, the finality of your spaceman adventure ?

I've never actually had to explain in words exactly what it was all about. There was a lot of what you might call "psychedelic pop" imagery around at the time that to be honest never had a great deal of actual "meaning" to it at all, and I guess I was tapping into that. Thinking back to my thought processes at that time, I remember wanting to specifically not have conventional cars in the film. I wanted a sense of a repetitive journey, and alienation, which I took to be what the music was about,............hence the solitary futuristic figure, protected by large goggles, moving through and trying to connect with the journey he is taking. The automobile "monsters" are deliberately threatening ( I have never been a big fan of cars or motorways ! ) and when our "hero" tries to make human contact (with different coloured clones of himself) he can never do it. In the end he realises he is making the repetitive and circular journey alone but strides forward purposefully at the end as he did in the beginning . All of which sounds rather pretentious..........but I was a young thing in those days ! Anyway it gave me an excuse to do a lot with the animation which I enjoyed and I think some people also have, although I can see it could be viewed as a rather frustrating film for anyone looking for a conventional storyline.

• Did you contact the band Kraftwerk, for using their music or not ? What was their reaction ? Did they approve your work ?

No I never made contact with Kraftwerk, and they had no input into the film images themselves. John Halas got the commission from Kraftwerk's record company, and it was deliberately experimental in nature and designed to be released on one of the first ever laser discs. Unfortunately the laser disc technology never took off.
The film was entered into various film festivals around the world and won a few prizes, but it never got a commercial release in cinemas but was shown on the TV a bit in the UK and I presume in Germany too. I have no idea what Kraftwerk think about it or whether they have even ever seen it.

Part 1

Part 2

[1979 - 13 minutes]
Director : Roger Mainwood
Producer : John Halas
Script : Roger Mainwood
Animation : Roger Mainwood
Music : Kraftwerk
Camera : Peter Petronio
Awards Zagreb Festival 1980

• Site du studio de John Halas et Joy Batchelor :

• Site officiel de Roger Mainwood :

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